Background: There are many applications for spatial cluster detection and more detection methods have been proposed in recent years. Most cluster detection methods are efficient in detecting circular (or circular-like) clusters, but the methods which can detect irregular-shaped clusters usually require a lot of computing time. Methods: We propose a new spatial detection algorithm for lattice data. The proposed method can be separated into two stages: the first stage determines the significant cells with unusual occurrences (i.e., individual clustering) by applying the Choynowski’s test, and the second stage determines if there are clusters based on the information of the first stage by a binomial approximate method. We first use computer simulation to evaluate the performance of the proposed method and compare it with the scan statistics. Furthermore, we take the Taiwan Cancer data in 2000 to illustrate the detection results of the scan statistics and the proposed method. Results: The simulation results support using the proposed method when the population sizes are large and the study regions are irregular. However, in general, the scan statistics still have better power in detecting clusters, especially when the population sizes are not large. For the analysis of cancer data, the scan statistics tend to spot more clusters, and the clusters’ shapes are close to circular (or elliptic). On the other hand, the proposed methods only find one cluster and cannot detect small-sized clusters. Conclusions: In brief, the proposed methods can detect both circular and non-circular clusters well when the significant cells are correctly detected by the Choynowski’s method. In addition, the binomial-based method can handle the problem of multiple testing and save the computing time. On the other hand, both the circular and elliptical scan statistics have good power in detecting clusters, but tend to detect more clusters and have lower accuracy in detecting non-circular clusters.
JournaltitleInternational Journal of Health Geographics